• Replacing 40 cars, pickup trucks, and vans with 15 leased vehicles eliminated 900 maintenance-related labor hours per year for Loveland, Colo. The city leased the cars for five years from Enterprise Fleet Management, which equipped the vehicles with its wireless CarShare technology consisting of a sensor, software, and password-protected reservations website.

    Credit: City of Loveland

    Replacing 40 cars, pickup trucks, and vans with 15 leased vehicles eliminated 900 maintenance-related labor hours per year for Loveland, Colo. The city leased the cars for five years from Enterprise Fleet Management, which equipped the vehicles with its wireless CarShare technology consisting of a sensor, software, and password-protected reservations website.

“You don’t need to make a profit, just enough to cover your operating costs and manage those costs, so it’s a better deal than your internal customers can get somewhere else,” says Kibler, who’s overseen Fleet Management for 15 of the 26 years he’s worked for Loveland. “In 2012, we saved more than $78,000. That’s big money for a government fleet.” To reduce costs, the city maintains and repairs the vehicles.

He assumed start-up costs like technology set-up and administrative fees would cause his department to lose money the first year, but that wasn’t the case. He sold 39 pickups, sedans, and vans at public auction for $53,000, and is saving $11,000 per month on operating and maintenance costs and $13,000 annually on gas because the 15 vehicles are more fuel-efficient. They range from compact cars like the Ford Fusion to trucks like the Chevy Colorado, and other passenger vehicles.

The program was launched July 2012, so it’s too early to know what annual mileage and utilization patterns will be. Overall utilization has improved, however. The 10 vehicles one internal customer had used averaged less than 1,000 miles a year each; that department now shares five vehicles that are expected to log 3,000 to 5,000 miles annually. On average, Wegener estimates each vehicle will log 8,000 miles annually.

The system also provides a new source of management data.

Kibler goes online to see who uses each vehicle, for how long and how often, to ensure proper accessibility, utilization, and maintenance. Wegener uses the data to ensure his client is optimizing the sharing capabilities and performing preventative maintenance. As Fleet Management’s usage and needs change, Enterprise and Kibler’s team will be able to determine how best to tweak the program to more effectively achieve its goals.

Accessing a shared vehicle

When a driver picks up the vehicle, he swipes a special card across a sensor under the windshield. In Loveland’s case, the technology integrates with employee ID cards. Enterprise CarShare uses membership cards or fobs for vehicle entry. The sensor records the date and time and unlocks the car’s door. The keys are already in the ignition.

When returning the vehicle, the driver parks it in its designated spot and leaves the key inside. To lock the car, the driver swipes his ID card across the windshield. The sensor records the duration of use and mileage and charges the user’s departmental budget accordingly.

Kibler plans to adapt the program, perhaps by offering hybrid and zero-emission plug-in vehicles, to meet customers’ evolving desires. In the meantime, he estimates total savings will be $300,000 over three years.

“We’re always conservative with our projections,” Kibler says. “I think we’ll come in ahead of that.

“We meet with nine different departments at the end of each year to help them manage their fleet costs. If you can steer a project rather than ride along with it, you’ll be in a better state of mind to get to where you want to go.” PW